Agility is key for any successful business. It means you can deliver knockout experiences to your customers while recruiting prospects and setting yourself up for success.
But a pesky issue can put it all at risk: growing ticket volume. Whether you’re handling an intro call or putting the final touches on a sale, resolution time is of the essence. Especially when customer service teams are dealing with 7.2 more calls per day on average.
This is why it’s so important to get to grips with shortening your time to resolution. Not sure what we mean? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Time to Resolution?
How long will a customer call take? You may as well ask how long a piece of string is. That’s because each and every customer call is unique and can cover a range of possibilities. But whatever the size and shape of the call, one thing remains constant: The time to resolution needs to be quick!
Don’t misinterpret this as needing to race to get the customer off the line. You must remember that your goal is to deliver the best possible solution to a customer’s problem. Do that and you’ll be better off than those companies from which 64% of consumers aren’t getting the right help or answer from.
Calculating your time to resolution
Calculating your time to resolution is done by an equation even the most math-averse won’t mind. Simply add up the total amount of time your sales reps spend on customer calls and then divide it by the number of customer queries successfully answered to get your average time. Easy peasy.
But what exactly does this number tell you? Honestly? Not much.
To really get to grips with your time to resolution, you need to look at two factors that will be your guiding star in whether it needs to be cut down, by how much, and where:
1. Your customers
Does anyone really like calling customer service teams? Sure, we know your team is great to speak to, but for most customers, it’s about getting answers fast.
You need to think hard about what your customers’ ideal resolution time is, and then do all you can to hit this. It might vary a bit from customer to customer, but no one is going to complain about a resolution time that’s too short!
Ensure you’re doing customer outreach surveys and consider diving into what your customers expect on each call so you know where to save those precious seconds.
2. Your competitors
Competitor research reports are always useful. It gives you an insight into what the competition is up to and shows you where your own business is falling down or even has an advantage over the market.
Looking at their time to resolution is a great way of gauging what to do with yours as promising quicker resolution times can give you the edge, with 12% of US customers rating “lack of speed” as their number one gripe.
You can also hone in on where your strengths and weaknesses lie when it comes to your mean time to resolution by focusing on the following two factors:
1. First response time
This is the average time it takes for you to respond to a customer request. With 33% of customers frustrated at being left on hold and 40% keen for a quicker response to their queries, it’s imperative that your team moves quickly to engage customers.
2. First call resolution
This is the dream customer service metric for your team. It looks at what proportion of your customer requests are wrapped up within just one call. As many as one-third of customers consider this the most important aspect of a good customer experience. It might lead to a longer call, but when combined with a shortened first response time, it means you’re delivering a memorable customer experience.
These factors are so important to consider because as much as we want to drive down time to resolution, we must avoid thinking about it as simply seconds and minutes. That’s because call to resolution time is one of your most important customer service metrics.
Why Is Resolution Time Important in Customer Service?
The best mean time to resolution will have the most value per second. This means bringing down the total time spent on a call while retaining customer value.
If you make it all about hitting the shorter resolution time for your customer service teams, then you risk missing the point of a call. They might be so keen to drive down the minutes that they skip essential questions a customer would expect, such as offering follow-ups or asking if they understand the advice provided.
Remember that 93% of customer service teams say customers have higher expectations than ever before. Be sure to find the balance between excellent customer service and shortening time to resolution.
A way of doing this is thinking about how a shortened call to resolution time benefits the customer experience.
A shortened time to resolution tells customers:
1. You value their time
2. You care about their problem
3. You’ve done your research
4. You are skilled at solving their problem
What could be slowing down your resolution time?
If you’re staring at a bloated time to resolution, there’s a good chance something is amiss with the performance setup of your customer service team. It could be a range of factors from training to KPIs to personalization and more.
But when it comes to time to resolution, we can narrow the field even more. Things to ask yourself when shortening your time to resolution include:
- Is your team sinking too much time into overcomplicated processes that require multiple data entries and information searches?
- Does your team have the proper tools? For instance, can they gather customer details in one call? Can they get up to speed on a customer before they pick up?
- Has your team had the proper training? Or are there examples of them dishing out the wrong or inaccurate advice?
- Does your team have a clear understanding of ownership? 40% of U.S. companies report that the main challenge to memorable customer journeys is a lack of interdepartmental collaboration.
While you may recognize some of these problems, there’s one solution that is a universal problem solver. And that’s phone system integrations.
3 Ways to Shorten Resolution Time
The power of integrations is something we’re passionate about. That’s because we know the power apps have to bring new dimensions to our service and to your work.
There’s always a harmonized tech stack to be aware of, but phone systems integrations are a great way of optimizing your team’s time and bringing huge benefits to your sales processes.
And shortening your call to resolution time is no exception. Let’s explore in more detail by looking at some ways to optimize resolution time that might be key to you and how integrations can help.
Manage customer order information
Nothing takes the wind out of a conversation’s sales more than “Let me just pull up your information”. Flash forward five to 10 minutes, and the customer is ready to call it a day.
Through phone system integrations with services such as Shopify, Aircall gives you access to a customer’s order details as soon as the phone starts ringing. With their details, previous orders, and tracking all at hand, you’ll be able to cut valuable minutes from your call.
Through our integrations with Gorgias and Re:amaze, all the calls you log are viewed and managed in one place, meaning no time is wasted brushing up on a customer’s journey so far, with the opportunity to listen to call recordings and voicemails all in one handy dashboard.
Keep customer data at your fingertips
Asking a customer to repeat themselves won’t do much for their brand loyalty or morale. Luckily, CRM integrations like Aircall’s with Salesforce, Zendesk, and Kustomer are invaluable to your sales team and help you avoid that issue.
By starting your call with a bank of knowledge, you’re showing them you are invested and are committed to taking up as little of their day as possible.
Your reps will also find time savings by bringing the sweeping productivity benefits of CRMs more seamlessly into their day. Benefits include streamlined workflows, better-automated reporting, and less manual data entry.
Scale your support operations
Phone system integrations open up the ways you can support your customers by offering a more extensive overview of your calls and offering more options based on their preferences. This might sound like a lot of extra work, but with integrations, it’s less!
Take the Front integration for example, where inbound and outbound calls are handled in Aircall and all call information is automatically logged. The Aircall phone is available directly in the Front dashboard, so agents can work out of a single platform (all while never wasting time switching screens).
Intercom meanwhile allows your team to pivot between communication preferences such as SMS, phone, and chat, losing no time in handing a customer over to an entirely new department without the proper context of their call. A big win considering 70% of customers become irritated when being transferred from one department to another.
All these phone system integrations, including our one with HubSpot, bring time savings through data sync. This can be a huge time saver, as it means you don’t need to enter data manually and also reduces the risk of human error.
Integrations that shorten resolution time don’t stop there either. We don’t want to brag, but our own marketplace surpassed 100 integrations earlier this year, and many can help you decrease call-to-resolution time (while also helping you reach your other business goals).
When it comes to customer conversations, time is golden, and you should make every second count. It’ll not only have your customers thankful for the time back, but it will also have an impact on your sales reps too. Because when it comes to shortening your resolution time, time could very well mean money.
Want to learn how you can gain the insights you need to boost your support team, create fantastic customer experiences, and ultimately improve your business? Reach out to the Aircall team today.